Super Best Audio Friends
The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists
The thing about frequency response errors or screwiness is that they are correctable. Non-linear distortion cannot. Hence why my measurements will begin with non-linear distortion and how the ZEN performs well, or at least well in an interesting way very different from BA type drivers.
WTF. Cannot help laughing. Indeed a big head scratcher. This shouldn't be true. Too good to believe, really. Something probably went wrong. Should look into more later. Any advice regarding typical noob traps will be all appreciated. Will update this thread as I collect more data points. Ultimately I want to measure other non acoustical output products (dac, preamp, head amp, etc) via M4 like I did with EARS. EDIT: The graph above doesn't make any sense (wrong option chosen). Please refer to the following post (#2)
We call these awards Golden Schlongs because we don't take ourselves seriously. I think it's hilarious that some people would actually think that people on SBAF were serious about themselves after reading a post or two... Anyway, the GS is a very serious award: while we do not take ourselves seriously, we do take audio seriously. However, anyone in this hobby who doesn't think there's at least a little bit of comparing schlongs is lying to themselves. (HINT: it only gets worse the more we spend).
There have been no changes to the format this year other than the addition of the infantile Brown Starfish award. Golden Schlongs and Silver Dongs are granted on per category basis (headphones, amps, sources, portable, and other). Each category will not necessarily have a GS winner; but each category will have at least a SD. It is also possible for a category to have multiple GS winners.
*Before that, I’d had Adam Audio A7X’s before moving into the passive speaker world. I had Philharmonic BMRs powered by a Van Alstine amp, but I’d rather not talk about that.
My desk. Usually there’s a computer monitor up there, but I put it on the floor during listening sessions. The black box to the left of my desk is the sub.
- dac2541 demonstrates excellent performance in a small package and a properly designed SMPS is nothing to fear.
- Very low distortion
- Power supply noise spectrum are at or below -160 dBFS in balanced output
- The power supply spectrum residual noise was so low it was necessary to reconfigure y-axis scale low enough to see the noise floor.
- Balanced output Dynamic Range of 126 dB
- Balanced output Cross-talk is dual mono with > 145 dB isolation
- Balanced output Gain Linearity is nearly perfect to -110 dBFS, less than ±1 dB to -130 dBFS
- Exceptionally low jitter
- Single Ended performance is slightly less than Balanced output, as is typical
- Single Ended performance is still exceptional compared to many competitor DAC SE outputs
The Solaris 2020 (the smaller one) is by far the worst of them all. I go back and forth on which of the other 3 I like the best they are all very similar. They each have strengths but I think the og Solaris (gold) wins in the end for me by narrow margins followed closely or perhaps equally by the SE Solaris.
My first impressions were of a very mild V with a slight downward tilt but after a while I’ve settled on neutral with slight bass boost. There is a switch that turns on “atmospheric immersion mode”, which seems to boost the bass a few db’s pretty evenly across the entire low range. While pleasantly done, I prefer the switches in default mode, for the more neutral of the two approaches, but I can see many enjoying the little extra thump and rumble.
The MW200 cables are terminated for use with MMCX micro coaxial IEMs. There is no need to purchase over the ear hooks are these are built into the cable. I guess the downside is if one uses IEMs where the cables drop down. An AKM DAC/amp chip deal feeds the IEMs. I have only have a chance to try the MW200 with Campfire IEMs, known for their super sensitivity. I can happily report that I do not hear any hiss or noise. BTW, the price is a stupid low $120.
From aesthetical perspectives, es1a resembles the legendary Omega (SR-Omega, neither 007 nor 009). I auditioned the original omega many years ago and it was a mind-blowing experience. But the omega was simply unobtainable (rarely showing up in the used market, and NEVER EVER with reasonable prices to my knowledge) and all other stax higher ends weren’t as satisfying as the omega. ES1a’s development seems to be strongly motivated by SR-Omega, and the developer had a good amount of experience in dissecting Omegas and other stax/senn estat products. No wonder I was looking forward to seeing well-cloned Omega with a few modern tweaks.
WARNING: THIS MOD IS NON REVERSIBLE AND WILL PERMANENTLY REPURPOSE YOUR GRADOS
What makes this Soranik IEM kind of special is the sound. The frequency response is agreeable to me, midcentric. Highs are relaxed and not boosted. Bass is extended and present. It many ways, the frequency response is like the Drop Plus, but with a maybe a peak or resonance thing in the midrange that brings out certain vocals. This effect can be lessened with deeper insertion, much like how the MEE Pinnacle P1's 3-4kHz peak can almost be eliminated.